Typewriter

No mistakes
Only blue oceans and red fire trucks.
I want to love and to love you back, but that’s a mistake.
That’s a foggy summer day and a question mark on a declarative sentence and that sentence is
something will go wrong
I’m afraid I’ll never find owls at night and doves in the morning because
lately it’s only been fish and dry land
when everyone else
found the water. I’m not
the field of flowers for your orchids, I’m the aquarium.
I spell numbers, not letters, and they’re not adding up right.
Wrong turns get me where I need to be, and I’m the
lighting to your
calm.
The path less traveled is well worn
and I make empty, pretty words
that meant the truth
of the matter is that
nothing is the matter because everything is wrong.
I draw my motorcycles with four wheels because I want to
get there faster and my planes with no wings because
I don’t know where I’m going.
A forest full of trees? I’m a forest full of grass because
it’s the little things in life.
I’m the bright blue sun
the drop in your faucet
an ocean full of orange
and a past of mistakes
that pave the way back the to future
and forward to the dawn.

Advertisements

Ophelia

I’ll be driving on the curve of the bridge on my way home
and at the peak my heart is heavy as the moon.
that song’s on the radio again and there’s the steady lights of a plane in the sky.
a symbol of you. you were the dream that flies but never took off. you keep happening again and again. and down here on the ground i sing to the full moon that i want you back.
a rolling tamborine and a mismatched itinerary remind me it can never happen.
so i soar on through sadness, a hopeful passenger. riding wings of faith that i’ll find the way you lifted me up again somehow on my own. the nosedive will flatten out. i’ll crash into a new beginning.

The letter she never sent 

As the car floated through the canyons she
pictured that letter he never sent to her.
how she knew it would be full of things that would break her heart.
So she wrote her own
as they drove on through fog so thick
they couldnt’t see the future.
She wrote the letter about how she was afraid
and he wasn’t and
how she was always the one who let herself
slip away
because falling on her own
felt better than someone holding her close and
losing their grip.
Tread kissed puddles and she wrote about how he
asked her what she was thinking but
she had a thousand thoughts that were all more poetic than words
so as the hills rolled quietly against the liquid sky
all she could say was silence.
But she thought her words looked pretty stretched across the stars.
She liked them best pressed up against the raindrops on the window.
They painted the melody of a song she wanted to hear lit through the patchwork clouds.
He drove her through the town of dashed dreams. A little beach town where people came to say I love you or first thought it was possible they could.
Until the road stretches on and the timbre of the ocean
carries those words
on a current that says
you’ll have to try again someday.
And in the ocean breeze
on the moonlight cliff
she looked at him and wondered
if in that letter he never
sent
he said he wanted to be her someday.
She hoped she was somebody’s someday as she looked over the edge and remembered her somedays passed.
And then
on the road again with hands fitting together she thought about how things always
fell out of place
and she wrote him that letter she’d never send.
She wrote it through the puddles and paint lines
She wrote it in the palm trees and open windows and hair whipping across her face.
She weaved it through her memories
of camping under open skies
low valleys and high deserts
running through December rain
and freeway overpasses
she wrote it and it said
I love you.

Nighthawks

This story is based off of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.

If I hear that damn song one more time I might blow this entire setup.
Well, I was going to blow the entire setup anyway, just not in the way that we planned.
“I’ve got you, under my skin…” Frank Sinatra’s voice carries throughout the diner for what to me seems like the thirtieth time that night. It’s actually more like the fourth, but one of these people must really have someone under their skin all right because they keep choosing the song on that stupid, chintzy jukebox.
I’ve got nothing to do but wait for the signal so this whole time I’ve been trying to figure out who it is.
The diner’s got one short order cook left in the back, one guy with a huge schnoz and stained white uniform tending the counter, and one waitress taking care of all the tables. It’s not any of them. The glassy look in each of their eyes says they’ve been here almost eight hours and the only thing under their skin is bacon grease and the remarks of impolite customers. They’re probably sicker of the song than me.
“I’ve got you, deep in the heart of me…”
Maybe it’s that couple sharing the oreo milkshake in the corner booth, one of his hands on her knee under the table like they think no one can see. But I think they’re too busy staring deep into each other’s eyes to care who’s deep in the heart of whatever.
I’d think it was the three kids sitting at the counter but the cowlicks in their hair and ratty jeans with the three root beer floats between them gives me the hint that they don’t have a leftover twenty five cents a pop to be sticking into the machine.
The mother with the bags under her eyes with her two twin boys at the middle table? I think trying to force her kids to eat their grilled cheese and stop pulling at each other’s hair is higher up on her agenda than whatever song is playing incessantly in the background.
The group of twenty somethings by the window probably don’t even know what song this is. The family outside on the patio with the German Shepard tied to the table don’t even get the pleasure of hearing it play.
Well it’s a mystery then because that leaves Ralph and me and it sure as hell isn’t me and Ralph hasn’t budged an inch in the barstool next to me the whole time.
Ralph got under my skin the very first time he walked up to me in that bar and asked, “Can I buy you a drink?” Since I was wearing my favorite A-line red dress and the job at the airline didn’t go through, I said, “Why not.”
I’d said “why not” to a lot of things after that, but after I learned he’d walked up to a different girl a few months later and asked “Can I buy you a drink” to her too, all I can say is, why.
I’d said why not the first time we skipped out on a tab while I distracted the doe-eyed waiter. I’d said why not when we smuggled out some of the local liquor store’s choice stuff under my coat. I’d said why not at the jewelry store, the gas station, anything that would make us a few bucks. Or in some cases maybe more than a few bucks.
I was always asking why not, but I knew exactly why. At first it was just because he was the first man to offer me a drink that wasn’t wearing a clip on tie. At first it was because at home all I had waiting for me was my fourteen year old cat who thought the leather couch in front of the TV was just for him.
Then it was because he would pick me up for dates in a black cadillac convertible and the confidence in his voice when he told the waiter to keep the change. Because we would walk holding hands and whispering down the sidewalk even though we were parked right there. It was because when I got home at night my lamp by my bedside only worked half the time and the other half I would think about how alone I was in a big city. Why? Because I liked the way his eyes looked under his hat when he pulled me close. He called me breathtaking.
Why, why, why not why not. Why not. That one two word phrase could sum up a lot.
Another two word phrase that could sum up a lot and I pictured myself saying one of these days was “I do.”
But now I don’t.
One one of the nights where my lamp did actually work, he said he had some business to attend to, I was sitting watching the city life go by outside the window. Well I saw my life go by out the window too because there he was in his black Cadillac convertible. They drove by in less than a second down the street but it was long enough for me to see that he had one hand on the steering wheel and another on her thigh. She was wearing a red dress, too. I bet her told her she looked breathtaking in it.
The diner was emptying out now. A shame it had to happen here. There’s no other word for the town but quaint, and the little diner fits right in like peanuts at a baseball game.
They serve the kids meals in cardboard cutouts of fancy old cars heaping with french fries and the red and white vinyl tablecloths are sticky from ketchup and grease and who knows what else. They’ve got more license plates on the walls than they’ve got room for people in the seats, and I half expect a barbershop quartet to come out of nowhere and strike up a song. A quarter of the place sells little odds and ends that I think my grandma would like if she were still alive, beaded coin purses and black and white postcards. I don’t know if the smell of hamburger will ever wash out of my hair. And of course there is that damn jukebox that won’t shut up.
“Don’t you know, little fool, you never can win?”
Watson’s, says a humble blue canopy sign above the entrance. I don’t know who Watson is but I think he’ll find it in his heart to forgive me.
It’s clearing out now. People are setting out their tabs. I can feel him tense next to me, one eye fixed on the cash register. Simple job, really. In a second he’s going to tap my leg and go over to the jukebox and keep it playing, just to make sure there’s some background noise. As long as he doesn’t choose the same song. I’d even take “What’s New Pussycat.”
He’s got a revolver tucked into the inside of his trousers. He’s not going to fire it, it’s just to speed the process up a little. But he’s got his little secret with the other girl in the red dress, well I have a secret too. Mine’s tucked into the top of my tights. The metal was cold against my skin but now it’s warm, the trigger’s pressing into my stomach, but I can’t feel it anymore. I can’t feel anything. His secret ruined my life, my secret’s about to do the same to his.

Popsicle stand

I don’t know what I’m doing I don’t know if I’ve done it but if it might be love I’m running from it. A mountain I’m not prepared to summit. What if this was my one hit; a miss, the rest of my life Instagram posts in backwards hats of how I’m definitely, totally not thinking I was the dart that never hit the bullseye. Never even played. Always prayed and delayed the chance to give someone a chance because I was turning renegade. Against the idea that anyone fit the grade, hit the mark, wasn’t afraid. The letter in the mail I slowing realize is never coming, the lyrics to the song I’m forever humming, the clumsy strings on the guitar I’m strumming. I want my life to be stunning but for now I’m stuck gunning down thoughts of regret and shunning. Chimney smoke in a cloud puffs say you’re not allowed to to the pursuit of happiness, till the show’s over bent and bowed. I’ve vowed to be the one who made a ripple, made it loud, but that horizon line’s far away and caught in shrouds. You’re close but I’m looking for you in the lost and found.
I just I just don’t want to be 20 bridesmaids dresses down the road and realize you were the white dress waiting to happen.

Uncertainties 

We stood on an ivory tower built up brick by brick with porcelain words. Fragile, discussing ever afters or perfect disasters. Discussing the moon haze night and the lives of the people below and pretending neither of us noticed we were the song stuck in each other’s heads and reflecting in each other’s eyes. But we did because you were the playlist to my summer. You sighed to the sky and said you didn’t want to leave. I said “I know” like some Han Solo knockoff because I am too scared to say things back. So we did a few more slow dances in our heads then walked down a spiral staircase into broken butterfly wings and drawn out goodbyes.

Homeless

He is
He’s shining when he walks into a room. And that other boy, he’s the one who tells her she’s beautiful.
That one, she’s half in love and starstruck in the light.
But the other half is still riding dandelion wings into the past.
That other one – it should work. Their hearts align. Things are easy. Around him she knows she’s the one that teenage boyfriends still dream about.
Just because it’s familiar doesn’t mean it’s home.
She wishes she could take off her shoes and smile at the end of a long day. But you can’t live at a hotel.
Her heart is still framed in the eyelashes of someone she met in the spring. When stones skipped across rivers and the moon hung high and she was ready to fall in love. When his hand was in hers.
She knows they will never fit together again, but she’s cold and caught in the rain and tired of being homeless.

Never Getting Older

In a year from now I want to be the song on the radio.
The one that I flip through the stations to find, that other people call in to request.
And even when it’s not on or it’s good and over, parked in the driveway, I want to keep on singing. No matter what happens to me. No matter what driveway I end up on. Right now I laugh when the wind gets knocked out of me and wait for the next blow. I want to look heavenward instead and say that blow’s not coming. I am music notes on airwaves riding raindrops till I reach the sun. And it doesn’t matter that my heart’s gotten bruised and battered because when I’m sung I heal and there’s nothing quite like hitting that note.
I’ll write notes across crimson skies when times are hard, I’ll write across the clouds and the blue and into the ears of those who need me. I will seep through closed doors and out of windowpanes and straight on through the glass, never going out of tune. So tune into me, a living breathing melody of hope. I want to be stuck in people’s heads and the soundtrack to the movie of your life. Whistled under the breath of someone who doesn’t know where they’re going until they find the rainbow they’ve been chasing. I want to be the nostalgia on the lips of someone who’s remembered where they’ve been. A lullaby to all of us awake in the day and an anthem when night finally comes. I want to play a lovesong to the story of a life worth living.

Things

I find you in ordinary objects, in
extension cords running across my carpet and in the
3 A.M. blinking of a traffic light on the corner of that intersection I take every day to get home
stop. go. stop.
I find you in the thread count on my pillowcase.
365. Threadbare. Your fibers
stretch across
the tile floor of a Wendy’s when I’m too tired to cook for myself because
I’m tired of you being gone.
Gone into the wind that never swerves my way again
In the veins of a brown leaf floating through the air.
I see you in extraordinary things, when someone asks me to dance and I blink the tears from the corners of my eyes and try to think about how unremarkable the buttons on a TV remote look.
I see you in the copper door I went down once to get a drink to wash you away – but you resurface in roadside drains and the fog in my bathroom mirror. You resurface in my breakfast cereal and the pedals of my car and when that other boy looks in my eyes and sees the word no.
I find you in lost laughter and the warmth seeping from an embrace. In the shoelace of my brother’s Nike’s.
I find you in the rain that never happens and the storm that always comes. I find you in all these things because I’m broken that I lost you.

you’re made

God recycles and when he made you he chose the prettiest pieces of seashells and the parts in fairytale stories where there are happy endings
out of upside-down kisses in water droplets
You were made from the gossamer
light spinning on spider webs and
everything I ever wanted but
tiptoed away
like a wave retreating-
nothing I can do.
from lightning bolts on gravel roads and the
person in that old scrapbook who makes
you wonder what life was like.
Of the breath of relief after jumping off
the cliff but
the feeling of falling, too
and waiting to fall.
When the candle blows out and it’s dark.
Of a million stars in the dark that you’re not quite
sure aren’t just fireflies
You were made of the love I never got
the chance to hold so
you were made of the hues of ice cubes at the bottom
of a glass of whiskey and
they sky when the clouds are full of rain
the planks of wood on the pier that smell
like sea salt and the neon in Las Vegas lights, the curl
in the corners of a roadmap
to somewhere I’ve never been and
to my heart.
The flames near a glassblowers hands
before the colors are done glowing bright and
I have time to miss them.
he also made you out of
all those puzzle pieces that try to
fit together
but never could